A good laptop may make or break your workday whether it comes to business, working from home, and working on the road. When it comes to laptops, you usually get what you pay for, but that doesn’t mean you should only look at high-end models.
Here’s what you’ll require: A computer with enough battery to get you through long meetings and conference sessions, a CPU capable of delivering excellent performance even with a few dozen tabs open, and a size small enough to fit in a carry-on or tote bag.
When shopping for a new laptop, keep the following points in mind:
Take into account the battery life
You don’t want a laptop that dies halfway through a long flight while you’re working on a report, presenting a presentation, or on a Zoom call. You’ll need a dependable battery that can keep up with your demands. Some laptops still have a short battery life of six hours or less, so, spending a little more money can sometimes bring you up to ten hours or more. Consider how and where you work, and then look for a machine with a battery life that meets your requirements.
Choose a light-weight option
While you may spend the most of your time at your desk with this laptop, that does not imply you will remain there. Look for a machine that doesn’t weigh too much; you want to be able to throw it in a backpack, tote, or carry-on bag without it digging into your shoulders.
Don’t get overwhelmed by sticker shock
It’s one thing if your boss picks up the cost, but if you’re paying for this laptop yourself, price can be a major factor. (Remember to check with your accountant to see if you can deduct it!) While top-of-the-line machines can cost more than $1,000, there are some excellent laptops under $1,000, and we’ve included a range of prices below.
Now, read on for our best laptops for business in 2021.
Dell XPS 13
- Storage: 256GB/516GB/1TB M.2 PCle NVMe SSD
- Memory: 8GB
- Features: Two USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), one USB-C 3.1, microSD slot
The Dell XPS 13 is a powerful business laptop with Windows 10 Pro as its operating system. It has an ultraportable design and excellent performance. The laptop was created for folks who want to stay working, with approximately 14 hours of streaming time on the FHD+ variant and Killer Wi-Fi 6 connectivity to keep streams (and Zooms) running smoothly. It also includes a suite of productivity applications, including Microsoft Office 365 – a 30-day free trial is included, but you can upgrade to get the entire suite. While your programs will appear fine on the 13.4-inch FHD+ 1,920 x 1200 Non-Touch Anti-Glare 500-Nit display, an upgrade to the Ultra HD 3,840 x 2,400 InfinityEdge Touch Anti-Reflective display, though it will cost you some money, will give you an even crisper experience.
Despite the fact that Dell positioned the laptop’s webcam near the bottom of the screen — honestly, why do computer companies keep doing this? — it is centered, rather than out to the side like previous models. On the plus side, the fans have been redesigned so that an hour into your Zoom meeting, the machine won’t get as hot (or as noisy).
With its 11th Generation Intel® CoreTM i3-1115G4 Processor (6MB Cache, up to 4.1 GHz) and Intel UHD Graphics card working together to give a top-notch experience, the ultraportable computer is ideal for business thanks to its array of connectors, spectacular display, and performance power.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano
- Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD
- Memory: 16GB
- Features: 2 x USB4 Thunderbolt 4, Wi-Fi 6, up to 11th-generation Intel Core vPro i7 processor, Dolby Atmos speakers
Not much beats the latest and finest version of the famous ThinkPad, one of the consistently best business laptops out there, for a business laptop that’s light on its feet –both in terms of power and real weight. The ThinkPad X1 Nano is powered by an Intel Core i5-114-G7 CPU with vPro technology — 1.8 GHz, up to 4.20 GHz with Turbo Boost. While this will keep work flowing smoothly, you’ll be able to see it clearly on the computer’s anti-glare, 2160 x 1350 2K display with a 16:10 ratio, the first of the ThinkPads to have it, which allows you to spread out your windows. Did we mention that it weighs less than two pounds? It weighs 1.99 pounds, making it Lenovo’s lightest ThinkPad to date.
Are there any other benefits for business users?
Wi-Fi 6 provides some of the best connectivity available, as well as quick wake and super-fast charging capabilities. There’s also a fingerprint scanner and a dTPM 2.0 chip to help protect your private information.
The disadvantages are that there are no other ports other than the headphone jack and Thunderbolt 4 connectors, and the battery life is only about seven hours. Some users may find the keyboard arrangement to be inconvenient to say the least: the function and control keys have been changed, making the mental transfer tough if you rely on shortcuts. However, it could not be better for ordinary business use: It can handle your web-based apps (if not a lot of advanced gaming), charges rapidly, and won’t slow you down on your commute.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9
- Storage: 512 GB PCIe SSD
- Memory: 16GB
- Features: Intel Iris Xe Graphics; USB 4 Type-C with Thunderbolt 4; Up to 16.7 hours 57Whr (MM18); Rapid Charge
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a capable workhorse that will help you get through your day. The laptop has a battery life of up to 16.7 hours and a Rapid Charge feature that injects electricity into the computer at breakneck speed. This means you can charge quickly over your lunch break or an airline layover, which is a huge plus.
A new one-bar hinge, dual fan, and back venting let you get more done, quicker, with a resolution to one of the previous generation’s greatest pain points — a noisy fan and quick-to-get-hot touch — courtesy to the revised chassis. This model comes with 16GB of memory and 512 GB of solid-state storage, though there are several configurations available.
You may enjoy its magnificent 14-inch full HD IPS anti-glare display with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels while experiencing the full power of this workhorse computer, as well as a superb keyboard to help you attain peak WPM.
Lenovo Yoga Book
- Storage: 64GB/128GB SSD
- Memory: 4GB
- Features: one USB 2.0, one Micro USB, one Micro HDMI, 10.1-inch full HD IPS touchscreen display, Intel Atom x5-Z8550, Intel Atom
The Lenovo Yoga Book is a versatile 2-in-1 notebook from Lenovo. The laptop includes a unique folding screen that allows it to be used as a notepad or sheet of paper while being lightweight and compact for easy portability. This isn’t a joke. The Lenovo Yoga Book is ideal for swiftly scribbling notes and messages in your own handwriting on a digital surface. This capability is very useful when creating charts and diagrams on the fly, such as during a meeting or presentation in a business or office situation. The Lenovo Active Pen 2 comes with a genuine pen and a real book pad with 15 pages that you can use with the laptop.
The hybrid laptop is available in two versions, each with its own operating system: Android or Windows 10. While it would be ideal if both were offered in a single model, Windows 10 is the greatest choice for businesses due to its array of productivity programs, including Office 365. With its world-class hinge system that allows you to configure the hybrid in any position and Windows 10 being built for tablets, the Lenovo Yoga Book can be transformed into a slate.
The Yoga Book, on the other hand, has some flaws, one of which being its on-screen keyboard. The laptop does not feature a typical keyboard; instead, in laptop mode, the second screen transforms into a virtual keyboard with the push of a button. When you use it, you get some haptic feedback and vibrations, but there’s no substitute for the real thing. The Lenovo Yoga Book, on the other hand, is a great option for its versatility and low price, especially if you’re looking for a laptop, tablet, and digital paper in one device.
Apple MacBook Pro
- Storage: 256GB SSD
- Memory: 8GB
- Features: Two USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), 13.3-inch 2,560 x 1,600 Retina display, M1 chip
Apple is regarded as the industry leader in producing high-end laptops with their own strong operating system. The Apple MacBook Pro continues the tradition with a brand-new superpower: Apple’s proprietary M1 chip outperforms prior MacBook Pros in terms of performance and graphics.
Whether you work a regular 9-to-5 and have a million browser tabs open, or you’re a creative who relies on Adobe’s Creative Suite or Apple’s own Final Cut Pro, this pays off big time. While we’re on the subject, the audio from the studio-quality microphone on this model is significantly better, whether you’re just chiming in during a Zoom conference or recording a song.
Another feature we like about the new MacBook Pro is its long battery life. Even if you’re spending the day multitasking to the utmost, it’s a dream. With 20 or more tabs open, Google Hangout calls, and a few other apps active at the same time, our reviewer was able to get 10 hours of battery life. Apple claims that you can get up to 20 hours of video playback and 17 hours of web browsing on slower days.
While the Apple MacBook Pro is widely regarded as one of the greatest laptops on the market, we still have a few complaints from prior iterations. There are still insufficient connectors on a laptop designed for creatives and media workers — only two USB-C ports on one side — necessitating the purchase of a dongle, which is unfortunately not included in the costly purchase price. Our tester also discovered that the track-pad was excessively large and that their hand placement on the laptop accidentally activated it. Of course, not everyone is a fan of the Touch Bar, which is supposed to replace the upper function keys and automatically customizes its “keys” to the application you’re using.
We went with a device with basic storage, RAM, and other amenities, but you can always pay extra for more.
Even with these unresolved difficulties, there are few better computers out there if you work a lot with media like music or movies — and, of course, the cool factor is enough for folks who just want to use it for simple workflow activities and apps like Slack or Google’s online apps.